Saturday, November 22, 2008

New Music, Good Music: Keelay & Zaire

This is what I love in hip hop: impressive, passionate lyricism riding on a smooth and hard-hitting groove. Keelay & Zaire seem to know their way around production and engineering, and their choice in rhymers to headline this dopeness, "The Times," speaks volumes. Blu, a reigning mic terror here in the West, is joined by Fortilive, a name new to this writer who stands a great chance of becoming a true school hip hop favorite. Much love to The Audacity of Dope for sharing this video.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Lani, I Know You're Gonna Dig This!

The Grouch.

Bay Area rhyme artist/activist.


This is NOT a slam or slant against Jay-Z, Pharrell, or other rap artists. Live in California long enough, and you'll KNOW the personality types that this song covers.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

And The Winner Is...

No contest.


WE won.

America won.

I wish I could write more, but tears are blurring the screen.

There, I can speak now.

I called my mother after the anchorman for ABC News waited 10 seconds before calling the election won--by Barack Obama. My mother, little woman full of love and power, spoke in tear-hushed tones, her tears striving against her normal poise and reserve. When she spoke these words, I wept:
I never thought it would happen--not in MY LIFETIME. I think about the marches, the hurt and pain...
Her tears fell hard as boulders rolling off alpine heights.

My mother was a young girl, a budding teenager, when Jim Crow still hung his hat in northern Louisiana. Despite criticism and hatred, ridicule and death threats, she stood her ground. She stood her ground with her peers who believed as she did... and despite her peers who were too afraid. When hate stroked the back of her neck and excuses whispered poison in her ear, she ignored that foul duo etched in faces pink with fear and rage, the faces of her White neighbors. She stood her ground when teachers told her that "her little group of troublemakers" were destined to die for "nothing."

"Nothing." My chance to be a productive part of this country--nothing. My opportunity to live wherever I could afford to live in my homeland--nothing. Thank God that "nothing" was just big enough of a dream to keep my mother and all of her fellow believers marching and sitting in and singing and learning law and teaching youth and feeding communities and... the list goes on. My mother still hesitates to tell the roughest stories, the hardest news, of those times in "the movement," and I try hard not to disrespect her need for silence in those moments. Tonight, my mother cried because her lessons to me about the equality of humanity and the hope of being American without a hyphen were a little bit closer to reality.

She didn't lie to me when she hoped aloud.

Some people will say that a Black man in the office of President will be vindication for the civil rights movement and for our ancestors who were once enslaved. Maybe, maybe not. I believe what my mother believes: I believe that America is my country and your country, too. The chance to do my personal best is all I have ever believed this country owes me. Standing tall, ten toes flat, is every American's right. My vote counted this time; my feet stood firm, toes spread and flat. Every citizen should have that testimony regardless of voting choice. A man with a great mind and strong spirit had the chance to run for the highest office in my country's government and won--fair and square.

Yes, I feel vindicated. A citizen had the chance to reach for greatness after preparing himself accordingly, and that citizen won his prize. Every American should feel some relief even for a single minute.

God bless America. God bless our President.

God bless our times.